-old guard cement their places
-Nandi-Ndaitwah loyalists make cut
-Swapo lauds returning officer
President Hage Geingob has picked seasoned lawyer Sisa Namandje and retired army general Martin Shalli as part of his six nominees for the Swapo central committee, while the old guard cemented their place in the powerful structure of the ruling party.
Geingob also nominated National Youth Council (NYC) executive director Sharonice Busch, Otjiwarongo constituency councillor Marlyn Mbakera, Otjozondjupa governor James Uerikua as well as southern-based Laurencia Stephanus, who had earlier failed to make the cut in the central committee elections during the seventh elective congress.
Namandje yesterday said he’s humbled by the nomination by the president to the party’s central committee, but was quick to rule out joining the government in any capacity.
“It’s nothing new. I have always assisted the party in legal matters, but as everyone knows, I have on several occasions rejected positions offered to me in government, and that
remains my stand. I will remain in the private sector,” he emphasised.
While the new CC ushered in new blood in the form of Swapo Party Youth League (SPYL) leaders Willem Amutenya, Hofni Ipinge, Neville Andre, Emma Kantema-Gaomas and Christine Haindaka, there is also the return of former SPYL secretary and works deputy minister Paulus Kapia. Supporters of re-elected Swapo vice president Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah consolidated their positions in the new central committee, which was only announced on Saturday morning following a long drawn-out verification and certification process, headed by the congress’ returning officer Joshua Kaumbi. Finance minister Iipumbu Shiimi topped the male list, followed by works minister John Mutorwa,
Swapo veteran Charles Mubita and defence minister Frans Kapofi. Deputy works minister Veikko Nekundi, veteran Alpheus !Naruseb, Kavango East governor Bonifatius Wakudumo as well as environment minister Pohamba Shifeta were among the popular central committee choices.
On the female list, Lucia Witbooi, who vociferously campaigned for Nandi-Ndaitwah’s election, topped it, followed by Loide Kasingo, industrialisation minister Lucia Iipumbu, Kavango West governor Sirkka Ausiku and deputy minister of gender equality Bernadette Jagger. Freelance journalist Tuulikki
Abraham, deputy minister of defence Hilma Nikanor and Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila make up the top 10.
However, minister in the presidency Christine //Hoebes and Namibian ambassador to the US Margaret Mensah-Williams could not amass enough votes to remain in the central committee. Nandi-Ndaitwah, speaking during the announcement of the Swapo CC voters’ verification and certification process in the early hours of Saturday, thanked
Kaumbi, who admitted last week that he messed up the party’s central committee list, saying that in admitting and correcting his mistake, he exhibited true leadership qualities.
“Our returning officer, we are proud of you and your team. I can tell you that any person who can make a mistake and publicly accept and apologise is a leader,” she noted.
“Comrade Joshua Kaumbi humbled himself before the Namibian nation and the Swapo members, pleaded with us, and said, ‘give me a chance to correct my mistake’. These are the cadres we talk about,” she added, while comparing him (Kaumbi) to late Tanzanian president Julius Nyerere.
She said during her stay in Tanzania, Nyerere would constantly apologise for the errors he made as a leader, which made him the true leader he was.
She added that in life as a human being, there are always errors, and she believes any error will only become a mistake if one does not recognise it and then correct it.
Speaking at the same event, Kaumbi again expressed his regret for the error, saying it was simply an honest mistake.
“There will come a time when I have to explain to the SG what actually happened. No one had pressured me to do what had
happened,” Kaumbi said.
Nandi-Ndaitwah called for unity among the party cadres ahead of the 2024 general elections, adding that the practice of campaigning for candidates is now over.
“Now that we have reached where we are and the results have been announced and observers are satisfied, let’s hit the ground running. There are no more candidates – what is now left is Swapo and Swapo only, and nothing else,” she stressed. Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, who contested for the party vice presidency against Nandi-Ndaitwah, thanked Swapo members who supported her during her campaign for the just-ended congress.
“Let me extend my profound congratulations to all the comrades who made it to the different leadership positions of our party,” she said.
“Our participation and subsequent deliberations while at congress were important endeavours in ensuring and safeguarding the democratic values and principles of our party. These values and principles ensure that the Swapo party will continue to thrive as a democratic political organisation.
Let’s continue to work together in unity to take our party forward as we march towards 2024,” she added in a widely circulated text.
Meanwhile, through their lawyer Kadhila Amoomo, three central committee members-elect, Tommy Nambahu, Erginus Endjala and Paulus Kapia had demanded in a letter to Swapo secretary general Sophia Shaningwa
on Friday that Kaumbi halt his decision to
verify and certify the results of the central committee elections.
The three claimed the decision taken by the Swapo top four was unlawful, saying only
the party’s congress, central committee or politburo are empowered to hear an election petition.
However, Shaningwa wrote back to Amoomo, and said the verification and certification of the results would go ahead as planned. Being the highest decision-making body between congresses, the 87-member CC directly influences key government decisions and policy direction, including the distribution of public resources.
The president, vice president, the secretary general and deputy secretary general are elected directly by congress, and become automatic members. The party’s president also appoints six members, while all secretaries of the wings and 14 regional coordinators are